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Caponata hits mark for Weld

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Dermot Weld. Photo: Getty Images

Dermot Weld. Photo: Getty Images

Dermot Weld. Photo: Getty Images

Caponata made a perfect start to the season by securing Listed honours at Gowran Park.

The Dermot Weld-trained four-year-old consistently held her own in big races last year and continued the good work in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes.

Well-regarded Jim Bolger inmate We'll Go Walking attempted to do it the hard way from the front and was still in the lead approaching the final-furlong marker.

But the Khalid Abdullah-owned Caponata (5/4 favourite) was never that far off the pace and overtook the game trailblazer with 200 yards to run. Both horses stayed on strongly, but Pat Smullen's mount was on top as they crossed the line. "The Group Three on (Irish) Guineas weekend (Abu Dhabi Stakes) at the Curragh (May 25) would be the logical follow-on," said Weld, who was completing a double with Smullen following their earlier success with Lucky Kitten.

"As the year progresses you would hope we can build to Group One status with her. I think she has the potential to be a Group One filly."

As for the runner-up, Bolger is likely to aim We'll Go Walking at the Irish Oaks at the Curragh on July 20 following her fine run on just her second start. "She may even stay further than a mile and a half," he stated. "We'll try and win a stakes race with her first, but she could line up in the Irish Oaks."

There's no stopping the Bolger winners' bandwagon and, just like Weld, the veteran trainer left his local track with a double, initiated by the success of Tobann (9/1) in the opening seven-furlong maiden.

Despite having struggled at the Curragh earlier in the month, the three-year-old daughter of Teofilo breezed seven lengths clear of Silver Lightening.

"She was good, but she lost the plot the last day," said the Coolcullen maestro. "I have her in the Athasi (Curragh, May 6) and would be tempted to run there."

Bolger then doubled up when An Saincheann (9/4) won division one of the fillies' maiden by 13 lengths from 4/5 favourite Sharp Crisp Air.

"She's a good filly and will go the black type route," said Bolger. "She was just a late developer."

The Ger Lyons-trained Safe Home (25/1) denied Weld a treble when Ghaamer was worn down in the latter stages of the closing maiden.

Lyons said: "He was ready for a day out and to win was a bonus. He should improve loads."

Michael Halford and Shane Foley combined to land the seven-furlong fillies' handicap with Ondeafears which finished with a flourish to land the spoils. Turning for home, the six-year-old had plenty ground to make up as she was being niggled along by Foley, but the jockey got a nice gap between horses to lead close home on the 4/1 favourite for a half-length victory over Core Element.

The first division of the one-mile handicap saw the colours of JP McManus carried to victory by Hurricane Sky, which was returning to the level after a spell over hurdles.

Fran Berry showed admirable patience aboard the Charles O'Brien-trained 6/1 chance as he bided his time before delivering a withering late run on the outside to beat runner-up Only Exception by just over a length.

Irish Independent